A new research centre created at Montreal's Polytechnique university will aim to protect ships from cyber attacks. Canada’s Maritime Cyber Security Centre of Excellence will combine the expertise of two Polytechnique researchers, Quebec cybersecurity startup Neptune Cyber and Davie Shipbuilding. The five-year research project will focus on cybersecurity for critical maritime infrastructures. Critical ship components, including navigation and motors, are being connected to the internet more and more frequently, in order to diagnose problems at a distance and avoid having to send a repairperson onto a ship that could be half a world away. But systems connected to the internet can become potentially attractive targets for hackers, who could try to paralyze a ship in the hopes of extracting a large ransom from the owner. Within a year, the project's participants hope to have identified key vulnerabilities and laid the foundation for addressing them. Neptune Cyber and Davie will contribute a total of $1.7 million, of which $500,000 will be in cash and $1.2 million in support and equipment for the project's duration. About 10 graduate students will also be trained to become among the first specialists in the field.
Transport Canada has issued Ship Safety Bulletin 02/21 Request for notification of any person or crew member on board that has a serious illness or any COVID-19 symptoms. This notification is in addition to current reports and requests that a vessel’s master contact the nearest Marine Communications and Traffic Services Centre (MCTS) to report whether any person or crew member on board has a serious illness or any COVID-19 symptoms. Those new reporting requirements can be found in the publication Radio Aids to Marine Navigation under sections 3.5 and 3.8. The master must also send an update to the MCTS if more people on board start to get sick.
Today Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced plans to extend COVID-19 testing requirements to all non-essential travellers entering Canada via the land border from the United States, and impose new measures requiring air travellers from overseas to be tested upon arrival and quarantine up to three days in an approved hotel while awaiting the test results. Those with negative test results will be able to quarantine for the rest of the mandatory two weeks at home, while those with positive tests will isolate in designated government facilities. Major airlines have suspended service to all Caribbean destinations and Mexico until April 30 and all international passenger flights must land at only four airports in Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary and Montreal.
The Government of Canada is investing $5.3 million in five companies to advance innovative solutions that could enhance Canada's ability to detect and monitor the presence of the endangered North Atlantic right whales in Canadian waters and predict their movements. smartWhales is another initiative aimed at reducing the risk of right whale entanglement in fishing gear and collisions with vessels – the two main threats they face. The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) is leading smartWhales in collaboration with Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Transport Canada, and this is the first federal interdepartmental initiative that funds research and development projects that leverage satellite data to help protect the North Atlantic right whale.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is receiving $162.6 million in much needed funding over the next five years and $40 million per year on an ongoing basis to maintain the integrity of Canada's food safety system, protect the health of plants and animals to safeguard the food supply, and provide ongoing support to Canadian businesses in their export and import activities to overcome pandemic interruptions and global trade volatility. This funding will increase the CFIA's inspection, surveillance and oversight programs within Canada to respond to the detection of new food pathogens, invasive species and animal diseases that threaten Canada's agricultural and natural resources. CFIA digital services will also be expanded so that more Canadian exporters and importers can benefit from efficient and automated tools for risk management and inspection.
Ships are piling up outside Los Angeles and other major US ports as American as companies try to restock warehouses and consumers — lacking travel and other entertainment options during the pandemic — buy more products for their homes. A record 38 container ships are awaiting berth space — 36 at anchor and two more that were directed to wait in designated areas at sea until anchorages are available according to the Marine Exchange of Southern California. The wait for these vessels appear to range from several days to nearly two week and more than a dozen container carriers are scheduled to turn up in the next three days. On top of the sheer volume of the loaded vessels, port authorities along the entire west coast are facing another round of inclement weather. Earlier this week strong winds and 5.2-metre swells prompted several vessels to hoist anchor and seek safety away from shore. Lines are reportedly cancelling sailings in an effort to restore schedule integrity and some are refusing US agricultural exports in its peak season in an effort to get empty containers back to China.
President Biden has signed an executive order on strengthening American manufacturing which is aimed at delivering economic relief to the US economy. The executive action also strongly supports the Jones Act, which requires goods shipped between US ports to be transported on ships that are built, owned, and operated by United States citizens or permanent residents. The order will encourage the country’s transportation system to go green including making ports more climate-resilient. The administration also plans to invest hundreds of billions of dollars in research and development targeting markets like battery technology, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, and clean energy.
The International Maritime Organization has reported that the 2020 global sulphur cap brought about a 70% cut in total sulphur oxide emissions from shipping, ushering in a new era of cleaner air in ports and coastal areas by using less polluting fuels. On January 1, 2020 the upper limit of the sulphur content of ships' fuel oil was reduced to 0.5% (from 3.5% previously) and despite earlier concerns over fuel availability, only 55 cases were reported whereby the 0.5% compliant fuel was unavailable. Through 2020, and into 2021 to date, IMO has not received any reports of safety issues linked to VLSFO.
The Panama Canal contributed to a reduction of more than 13 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent emissions in 2020 by offering a shorter route to ships when compared to the most likely alternative routes. The Panama Canal has also announced that it is launching a CO2 Emissions Dashboard which dashboard will allow users to compare CO2 emissions reductions by route, segment and customer, with data updated each month. The dashboard currently has the overall 2020 data, but will begin reporting the monthly figures next month. They also plan to publish monthly data on the CO2 emissions saved by vessels that chose to transit the Panama Canal over the most likely alternative route.
More than 300 companies and organizations from around the world are throwing their support behind efforts to resolve the ongoing crew change crisis by signing the Neptune Declaration on Seafarer Wellbeing and Crew Change. The Neptune Declaration defines four main actions to facilitate crew changes and keep global supply chains functioning during the pandemic, including recognizing seafarers as key workers, prioritizing them for vaccines, and establishing gold standard health protocols based on best practices. Unfortunately with the detection of new variants of COVID-19 governments are backsliding and bringing in more restrictions.
The Tokyo Memorandum of Understanding's Port State Control Committee met virtually from January 21-22, 2021 where discussions focused primarily on the need to finalize guidance on remote inspections amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The Committee noted the amended schedule for future joint Concentrated Inspection Campaigns, i.e. STCW in 2022, CIC on Fire Safety in 2023, CIC on Crew Wages and Seafarer Employment Agreement under MLC in 2024, and CIC on Ballast Water Management in 2025.
Feb. 1 - Discussion on Cumulative Effects of Marine Shipping @ 10:00
The CMA CGM Patagonia, 15,000 TEU LNG-powered containership, has been launched by Chinese shipbuilder CSSC Jiangnan Shipyard. The vessel was built for the French container shipping major CMA CGM. The containership is the first of five LNG-powered sister vessels ordered by the company back in 2019. CMA CGM Patagonia is scheduled for delivery in mid-August 2021 and will be followed by sister ships: CMA CGM Kimberley, CMA CGM Everglade, CMA CGM Galapagos and CMA CGM Greenland.